Handling dropshipping returns can be challenging. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common return mistakes and how to deal with them!
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Dropshipping can be an excellent eCommerce business model for those who want to avoid the hassle of managing their own inventory, by purchasing from another third-party dropshipping supplier and having the items shipped directly to the customer’s door!
However, issues may arise, such as returns, that need to be handled carefully and quickly. Here we’ll discuss the most common return mistakes and how to avoid them.
We know that handling returns as a dropshipper is often costly and time-consuming. You’re probably dealing with multiple suppliers, different return/dropoff locations, various types of products that require specific return policies and return windows. The answer is to centralize all returns, generate return shipping labels that are carrier compliant, and specific for each supplier and/or product.
If you’re selling both clothes and electronic devices, you’ll surely have to deal with returns differently for each item. Not to mention each supplier’s policy. Now that’s quite a situation, don’t you agree?
This is where a self-service returns center comes in! It enables dropshippers to track all returns and implement return rules by supplier, product, and location. while features such as intelligent dispositions can help distribute returns evenly across multiple warehouses or dropoff locations.
What you need to do is to reach a balance that will enable you to satisfy your customers and increase your profits, and to do so, you need to build a system that works for you: flexible, streamlined, automated. More specifically, one that enables you to take actions based on suppliers, locations, and products. With the help of recent technology, we have found a way to make returns easy and inexpensive for dropshipping businesses.
This way, you can ensure a positive customer experience. All you need are some good questions and policies in place, which we will discuss in-depth in this short but comprehensive article!
Customers are always looking for the easiest way possible to return something. They don’t want their money taken from them and then they’re left hanging with an unused, defective product, so how do you as a business owner make sure that doesn’t happen?
This is a question many business owners are struggling with. There’s the option of doing everything yourself, but that can be expensive and time-consuming— not to mention all those returns!
What do we recommend? Rather than hiring a dedicated team or outsourcing customer support tasks, use an automated return merchandise authorization platform that will help you and your customer effectively handle returns and refunds.
The implementation of a self-service returns center helps eCommerce businesses combat return fraud by implementing logics and rules that help track all returns.
A self-service returns center enables the customer to request returns without human assistance. Moreover, this enables you to view all return statuses and implement different logics for fighting fraudulent returns before they even happen.
Launching and expanding an eCommerce business takes effort, especially if you have little financial resources. With dropshipping, not having to worry about delivery is really helpful because it frees up your time— precious time that you can redirect towards focusing on your marketing strategy, customer service, and overall business operations.
When you’re dropshipping, one of your first concerns may be how you’ll deal with returns. It’s natural to be concerned about this. After all, if you’re not handling or shipping any of your items yourself, the idea of accepting returns for them might seem scary.
From the moment a customer requests a return, you have to consider the supplier’s policy, any return shipping fees, whether or not you can afford to provide free returns and refunds, weigh in any other options such as store credit.
Fortunately, by implementing automation software for your returns, such as WeSupply, you will be able to better manage customer relationships while making the most out of returns and reducing costs as much as possible.
To ask for restocking fees or not— that is the question. Depending on your supplier’s policy, your agreement with them, available resources, and so on, you could be asking customers to also pay restocking costs for the returned products. If your supplier requires you to reimburse the restocking fee, you could also pay that upfront from your pocket.
Customers may need they need to return products, specifically, items that are defective. In this case, it is necessary to provide those customers with returns as effectively as possible. As a dropshipping business, you need to have reliable suppliers that accept returns, but you also need to keep an eye on your return requests to avoid potential return abuse and fraud. Make sure you automate returns using well-established rules and logics to steer clear of unpleasant situations, and manually check returns that look suspicious. Better safe than sorry!
Even big retailers have to deal with defective items, as you can see below, so there’s no need to be ashamed. What matters the most is to deal with them in a productive manner.
Unlike the 8.89% returns in brick-and-mortar stores, when it comes to eCommerce, a staggering 30% of all online orders are returned (source). Enabling your customers to ask for returns and refunds, or online store credit— depending on your RMA platform, will help you drive customer engagement and build trust in your brand. These are essential for fruitful, long-term customer relationships.
Moreover, 67% of shoppers say they normally check the return page before making a purchase. With over half of consumers being preoccupied with returns, you can already imagine the importance of having a return policy and process set in place well. You cannot go wrong with a return policy page and an FAQ section on your website. This will lead to fewer support inquiries or frustrated customers and suppliers while you can sit back and relax!
After all, returns are inevitable in eCommerce, whether we’re talking about dropshipping or not. What matters the most is to create a hassle-free, positive experience. In fact, 92% of customers will buy something again if the return process is easy, so make sure you prioritize facilitating the returns process for everyone involved.
Just like in any eCommerce business, the return starts with the customer’s request. Customer inquiries will be received by you via email or through a self-service portal, like WeSupply. Before proceeding with the return, learn if you can get a refund from your supplier or manufacturer or not. This is a fundamental step before establishing your own return policy.
The next step is to determine whether or not your customer is expecting a refund or online store credit. According to the client’s answer, you will either submit a refund request with the client’s photos and explanations or instantly issue a store credit coupon.
You might have to obtain an RMA number from your supplier to further send out to your customer in order to proceed with the return. If needed the customer will send back the products to the supplier with the RMA number. You might also use an automated system to generate all RMA numbers to save precious time.
Once the return request is completed, the supplier refunds your account, and you can refund the client’s account as well.
Moreover, you might encounter certain atypical situations in which:
But in order to make the most of dropshipping, there are some simple but often counterintuitive mistakes you should be aware of and avoid, and we’ll discuss 7 of the most common ones below.
You need to make sure your return policy matches each of your suppliers’. If there are any discrepancies, you might have to cover costs and fees you weren’t prepared for, making the situation difficult for all the parties involved, including your customer. It is expected to work with different suppliers— often at the same time— which is exactly why you need to carefully consider each return policy and adjust the one you display on your eCommerce website accordingly.
If you want to learn how to create a return policy that speaks to your business, make sure you check out our blog posts, 8 Steps To A Killer Return Center Page [with examples].
Even if you’re not working with multiple suppliers, you’re still probably going to deal with returns to different warehouses. Fragile items might need to be delivered to a specific location, whereas non-fragile goods have to be returned to a completely different place.
Solutions such as intelligent dispositions enable you to send the right product to the right location without going through all the trouble of manually sorting and redirecting items based on location due to an inefficient returns management tool.
If your return management system enables suppliers to accept or reject a return, you need to make sure they can only access information related to their products.
In this case, providing supplier-based access enables them to see their specific returns alone. You can achieve this by setting return rules that are particular for each of our suppliers. Not only will this give you more control over what happens behind the scenes, but this way, you can also centralize and track all returns and avoid unfavorable scenarios such as missing or lost packages.
Just like you work with different suppliers, you’ll also be working with more than one carrier. This means that your returns management system must support multi-carrier returns in case each item needs to be shipped back separately by several carrier service providers.
In fact, each of the suppliers you’re working with might have another return carrier, and the solution for that is to implement a system that can work effectively with multi-carrier returns per supplier.
It comes as no surprise that you can have items from different suppliers in just one order. So what happens when your customer needs to return their products separately? It’s simple!
Establish one return process for all, where the return request is split into multiple inquiries, each one being specific to each supplier’s return address. And WeSupply can help you: learn how to set up a return logic here.
Is your supplier the one who provides the label for the customer? If so, you should have a system in place that enables you to track orders even when return labels are not generated internally. This will help ease your customers’ minds and help you better track your returns.
Keep providing labels generated outside of the return system but add the tracking number into your returns system so the customer can easily track their return and get notified when the product arrives at the return location!
‘Tis the season to prepare for increased demand and potentially decreased supply. And with a high number of orders, you’ll also have to deal with a significant number of returns, refunds, and exchanges. Make sure you let website visitors know as soon as possible that an item is out of stock, and allow them to track their packages all the way, including their returns. And to save yourself some time, use automation software to remove all repetitive tasks on your end. Fast and convenient, and everyone is satisfied!
Setting a clear policy on returns and refunds is essential for a successful dropshipping business. The best way of handling these cases isn’t just setting the standard, but also communicating it clearly with everyone who comes across your store – whether they buy something or not!
As far as FAQ sections go, this is one great example for answering some of the most important questions most customers have:
Gather information on the most frequently asked questions by your customers, and answer them before they need to reach out to you! You can come up with the most comprehensive answers by analyzing your customer feedback and return reasons from emails, chats, or directly from a returns management software, like WeSupply.
Although the return conditions might not be the most convenient for most online shoppers, what Mooshe manages to do is to be completely upfront and honest about their return policy. Customers know exactly what they need to do and what are the limitations of the store when it comes to returns.
You might implement other rules for a less strict policy, regardless, make sure the information is clear and straightforward. According to the return policy you settle on, you can use automation software to set clear return rules and logics for all your returns, and we can help! Learn here how.
What makes their return policy stand out? The overview that’s located right on top of the page! Time is a limited resource, especially in this hectic world, and we might not always read the full policy before proceeding with a purchase— although we definitely should! That’s why you can add the most important pieces of information at the beginning of the page and include other relevant details down below.
What can a customer do when the item is not eligible for an exchange, return or refund? That’s one question you need to answer on the return policy page, just like Mini Smart World does. It’s better to let everyone know in advance whether or not an item can be returned and refunded or exchanged rather than going through all that process just to realize that the product is not qualified.
On your end, if your returns management platform allows, you can set up logics that stop ineligible products from being returned, which also helps you avoid return abuse or fraud.
One thing that Bluecrate surely got well is their question form. You might cover the most common issues on your FAQ page, but not all returns are the same. Enable your customers to find answers on their own but also to be able to contact you as quickly and conveniently as possible!
Returns and refunds in dropshipping seem complicated, but this is an area that can be easily mastered with some patience and great returns management software!
WeSupply has been proven as an effective returns management system that not only will it help you better manage your customer relationships but, by implementing this technology, your dropshipping business is able to reduce costs and maximize profits. Our eCommerce Self-Service Returns Center enables you to facilitate the return process and improve the post-purchase experience for customers, making every return a potential repurchase.
Learn how we can help you take your eCommerce store to the next level, and book your free demo here!
Not sure what to include in a return policy? Check out our Free Return Policy Template.
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